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USTA Florida Nov. 2013 Regional Tennis Columnists

November 6, 2013 03:52 PM
Panhandle Teams at USTA League Nationals; College Winners

By Scott Harrison, USTA Florida Region 1-West (Panhandle) Columnist


 
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Sandspur finalists from left: Amy and Brad Brown, 
Denise Boatwright, Michael Edge

Escambia County sent two teams to the USTA League National Championships in October and will send a third later this month. Both the Women's 2.5 and 40 & Over Men's 4.0 teams missed the semifinals of Nationals by one stinking third-set tiebreaker, such is the thin line separating the teams at nationals. Although both teams had a great time in Indian Wells, Calif., both would have preferred a spot in the semifinals.

One very bright star on the Women's 2.5 team was Brandie Jenkins who was undefeated in singles for the whole year. Naturally, she'll be plying her skills at a higher level next season. The rest of the Women's 2.5 team that played in California included Tonya Chase, Amy Collier, Christine Dorvault, Johanna Freeman, Sue Nast and Erin Rhone.

The 40 & Over Men's 4.0 team played very close 3-2, 2-3 and 3-2 matches in round robin play. The players who made the trip to Indian Wells included Chris Brown, Harry Collins, Tim Falzone, Pete Gilroy, Jon Green, Doc Holliday, Hal Major, Pete Nowak, Mike Patrick and Mike Pitou.

The Escambia 7.0 Mixed team just won the USTA Florida Sectional Championship at the end of last month. They head to Tucson on Nov. 15-17. The team did a great job winning their flight matches 2-1, 3-0 and 2-1, romping on Leon County 3-0 in the semifinals and wrapping up the title with a 2-1 win over Sarasota/Manatee counties. The players who participated in Daytona were Brad Bradford, Renee Baggett, Glenn Shane, Christy Shane, Marcus Anderson, Lauren Haack, David Jenkins, and Bonnie Witkin.

UWF's Bruno Savi Wins USTA/ITA Division II Small College Championship

The University of West Florida's (UWF) No. 1 player, senior Bruno Savi, defeated Marko Boskovic of Ouachita Baptist 6-4, 6-3 to win the USTA/ITA Division II Small College Championship, held Oct. 12, 2013 at The Three Oaks Tennis Center in Ft. Myers.

Savi and his partner, Felipe Frattini, lost in the first round of the doubles draw to Boskovic and his partner, exacting a bit of revenge for the team.

The Small College Championships are a unique event featuring the eight Regional Champions from Division II, Division III, NAIA and Junior College play. The four winners then compete in a Super Bowl of small colleges. Savi lost 6-3, 6-4 to Deni Zmak (NAIA Champ) of Embry-Riddle in the semifinals of the Super Bowl.

Edge and Boatwright Win 42nd Annual Sandspur Mixed Doubles Tournament

Michael Edge and Denise Boatwright of Pensacola defeated Brad and Amy Brown of Dothan, Ala., 3-6, 6-2, 10-5 to win the 42nd Annual Sandspur Mixed Doubles tournament in Gulf Breeze, Fla., one of the oldest continuous-running tournaments around the state.

Back in the '80s the tournament reached a draw of 96 and featured all of the best teams in West Florida. Since Hurricane Ivan devastated the Emerald Coast, draws for almost all tournaments have been smaller. This year's Sandspur had a draw of 32 and utilized a full compass format.

Of the eight compass finals, six were decided in third-set tiebreakers. Tournament Director Whitney Man and his assistant Ross Sakey did a fantastic job with the seeding and the amenities for the tournament. Whitney's wife, Kaya, cooked up fantastic food, Hawaiian style, for all three days of the tournament. Players received t-shirts and a goodie bag in addition to the terrific food and drink.


Tallahassee Tennis Association Championships, League Nationals

By Kelly Tucker, USTA Florida Region 1-East (Tallahassee-area) Columnist


 
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The Kendalls
The Tallahassee Tennis Association (TTA), in partnership with the City of Tallahassee Parks, Recreation, and Neighborhood Affairs, hosted its annual championships at Forest Meadows on Oct. 18-20, 2013. This tournament is the TTA's largest fundraising event, with singles, gender doubles, and mixed doubles divisions.

The TTA uses this tournament to raise money to fund various community projects such as purchasing shade structures for local courts, assisting teams going to USTA Nationals, etc. A favorite tradition of the tournament includes a pre-tournament draw party where players can enjoy food and refreshments and find out who their opponents are going to be. 

This year's event included 79 participants, which became a challenge for organizers and participants when the end of a three-week drought brought enough rain to soak the courts the first evening and second afternoon of the tournament. Players were flexible, sometimes playing back-to-back matches to ensure that the all matches were completed on time. Tournament Director Cathy Kendall remarked, "Come Monday morning, it is likely that there will be some very fit tennis players moving a little slower and being stiffer than usual."  

Results of the tournament, included:
3.0 Men's Singles: Champion - Anthony Thompson; Finalist - Jignesh Patel
3.5 Women's Singles: Champion - Estella Waczewski; Finalist - Lisa Franson
3.5 Men's Singles: Champion - Stan Jastrzebeski; Finalist - James Waczewski; Consolation Winner: Samuel Steinberg
4.0 Men's Singles: Champion - Tom Cordi; Finalist - Tim Carr; Consolation Winner: Derick Dehmer
7.0 Combined Women's Doubles: Champions - Lori C. Willyoung and Beth Murray; Finalists - Renee Pitts and Jasmine Adams
8.0 Combined Men's Doubles: Champions - Tim Carr and Lucus Johnston; Finalists - Roby Kendall and Todd Kill; Consolation Winners - Richard Talbot and Sam Kovacs
7.0 Mixed Doubles: Champions - Greg and Kim Nichols; Finalists - Corey Howard and Renee Pitts; Consolation Winners - Steve and Beth Murray
8.0 Mixed Doubles: Champions - Dave Newbery and Melanie Allman; Finalists - David Lane and Margaret Stephens; Consolation Winners - James Waczewski and Estella Waczewski

Mixed 18 and Over 8.0 Team Heading to Nationals

Nathalie Portmann's Phelps Mixed 18 & Over 8.0 team took home the top prize in Daytona in October -- a trip to the USTA League National Championships in Tucson, Ariz., in late November!

The team went undefeated in their bracket by winning in the semis on Sunday morning, and then defeating Broward later in the day. Congratulations to the team which includes: Diana Johnson; Larry Johnson; Dave Newberry; Brenda O'Kelley; Lori Elliott; Chris Corum; Travis Sykes; Rob Lumsden; Nathalie Portmann (captain); Jennifer Kjellerup; and Elaine Rudd. Way to go guys!

40 and Over Men's 3.0 Team Competes at Nationals

Congratulations to Tallahassee's 3.0 Men for having had the opportunity to play in the USTA League National Championships in their division in Tucson, Ariz., in early October. 

Although the team didn't win, they ended up placing 5th out of 14 teams which is quite impressive. The team consists of: Brad Hollis (captain), Kevin Ragsdale, Steve Steinhauer, Sujith Wimalasooriya, David Maus, Tom Houston, Greg Nichols, Rodney Reams, Steven Murray, and Benson Turner.


Ace for a Cure with Isner, High School Team Tennis

By Nancy Morgan, USTA Florida Region 3 (Sun & Nature Coast) Columnist

FARA-isnerAvila Golf and Country Club's Tennis Director Roger Cypriano is gearing up for this month's FARA Ace for a Cure Tennis Fundraiser. With the aid of the club's willing volunteers, 21-year club director Cypriano will oversee the three-day event Nov. 21 and Nov. 23-24 that last year raised $60,000 for FARA, Friedreich's Ataxia Research Alliance, a non-profit research organization.

Among the highlights of the event will be the appearance of professional John Isner, USA's highest-ranked male player, who will play in an exhibition and offer a chance to return his booming serve!

The activities begin Thursday evening with a Meet-and-Greet cocktail reception with Isner, followed by a full weekend of on-court action, including a Teach-A-Thon, a Spin-A-Thon, a Mind-Body-A-Thon, and a Round Robin on Saturday. Sunday begins with a Future Stars Exhibition, a Pre-Exhibition Doubles Match, and both Singles and Doubles Exhibitions with Isner.

All proceeds benefit FARA. The Alliance focuses its research on treatments for Friedreich's Ataxia, a debilitating neuro-muscular disease caused by a lack of energy production that cells need for proper function and survival. According to research, one out of 100 people carry a Friedreich's Ataxia gene.

Contact Cypriano at tennis@avialagolf.com or (813) 968-6792 to receive more information.

Treasure Bay Offers High School Team Tennis

High school players looking for an opportunity to get match-ready for the upcoming high school season need look no further!

All this month, Treasure Bay Golf and Tennis in Treasure Island is the site for matches and practices culminating with a Treasure Island Team Tennis Championship on Dec. 14-15.

Coordinated by Treasure Bay Tennis Director Phil Girardi, five matches and three 90-minute practice sessions are offered to each player at a $65 cost for USTA members and $75 for non-USTA members. Boys and girls of all high school levels are welcome.

For more information contact Girardi at (727) 360-6062.


Tears of Joy as USTA League Nationals Dream Comes True

By Barbara Eisner Bayer, USTA Florida Region 8 (North Gold Coast) Columnist

region_8-Teamphoto,JPGHermine Greene, the beloved captain of the women's 40 4.5 team from Dillon Tennis Center at Oakland Park in Ft. Lauderdale, has had a dream for more than 40 years -- to make it to USTA League Nationals. Finally, on Oct. 25, Greene's wish came true as she headed to Indian Wells with 10 other women to finally realize her heart's desire.

The team had been to USTA Florida League Sectionals in Daytona four years in a row. They almost made it last year, but lost in a third-set tiebreak to the team from Pinellas County. Last year, there were lots of tears. But they spent plenty of time practicing and wishing upon stars -- and, this year, they cried tears of joy as they beat that very same Pinellas team in a third-set tiebreak.

In order to prepare for the trip to nationals, the normally Har-tru players hit the hard courts with pro Mike Bennett, and practiced almost two hours every Saturday. They worked on line calls and handling the faster ball speed, and the discomfort they felt when they found their feet sticking to the ground. They mixed and matched players until they found perfect combos, looking for that competitive advantage.

"We have a unity now that we never had before," says Greene, as she explains the secret of their success. "We're so motivating for each other; our energy is at the right place at the right time, and we're all on the same page. We're as good as we can possibly be."

So, on Oct. 25, the team found themselves at Indian Wells, and took full advantage of the trip. They explored the area, took a tram up the San Jacinto Mountains, visited local wineries, and hiked to maintain their fitness. According to Maria Miro, long-time LLC and a teammate, "We had such a good time...we were a team that really got along and there were no issues. It was nice to be a part of that."

And although they gave their best, they succumbed to the stellar competition. But that won't deter them -- the team will pull from a hat to see who will stay together next year. But in two years, they plan to rejoin forces with only one goal in mind -- making Hermine's NEXT dream come true -- crying tears of joy as the winners of the 2015 nationals!


 
 

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